Synopses & Reviews
In this delightful second installment in Alexander McCall Smiths best-selling new detective series, the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie, editor of the Review of Applied Ethics, gets caught up in an affair of the heart—this one a transplant.
When Isabels niece, Cat, asks Isabel to run her delicatessen while she attends a wedding in Italy, Isabel meets a man with a most interesting problem. He recently had a heart transplant and is suddenly plagued with memories of events that never happened to him. The situation appeals to Isabel as a philosophical question: Is the heart truly the seat of the soul? And it piques her insatiable curiosity: Could the memories be connected with the donors demise? Of course, Grace—Isabels no-nonsense housekeeper—and Isabels friend Jamie think it is none of Isabels business. Meanwhile, Cat brings home an Italian lothario, who, in accordance with all that Isabel knows about Italian lotharios, shouldnt be trusted . . . but, goodness, he is charming.
That makes two mysteries of the heart to be solved—just the thing for Isabel Dalhousie.
"The second installment of McCall Smith's Sunday Philosophy Club series sports a charmingly meandering plot and winningly hyperverbal characters no surprise to fans of Isabel Dalhousie's debut, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency books, or any of McCall Smith's 50-plus titles. Once again, Edinburgh's Dalhousie, intrepid editor of a philosophy journal, finds herself analyzing other people's problems when asked to fill in for her niece Cat, at Cat's gourmet food shop-cum-delicatessen. At the shop, Isabel meets Ian, who is haunted by visions of a man he comes to believe must be the murdered donor of his transplanted heart. As McCall Smith lovingly takes Isabel sleuthing across Edinburgh, the donor's stepfather (a man Ian has never seen) turns out to look much like the man of Ian's nightmares. Meanwhile, Cat's romantic rejects find their way, via the shop, into Isabel's social set, including former major beau Jamie, a classical musician who, though 15 years younger, becomes Isabel's confidant. A delicious mix of the unlikely and the tried-and-true, this latest cozy from an undisputed master will make readers feel just that. 9-city author tour. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this enjoyable follow up to The Sunday Philosophy Club, a character remarks:
"It was hard to make goodness - and good people - sound interesting. Yet the
good were worthy of note, of course, because they battled and that battle
was a great story, whereas the evil were evil because of moral laziness, or
weakness, and that was ultimately a dull and uninteresting affair." Therein
lies the charm of McCall Smith's writing: In his quiet, good-humored way, he
makes goodness interesting. (Don't scoff: Even Milton had trouble with that
one.) Scottish philosopher Isabel Dalhousie befriends a man who has just undergone
a heart transplant and is troubled by visions. Meanwhile, she's still editing
her journal on applied ethics and moonlighting as shopkeeper as a favor to her
niece, Cat. (She's also tending to Cat's ex-boyfriend, Jamie, acting as confidant
for the besotted musician.) As with his bestselling No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
series, the mystery is almost beside the point. Isabel's deductions provide
McCall Smith with an opportunity to reflect on philosophy, the poems of Robert
Burns, and Scotland. Grade: B+ Christian Science Monitor
The delightful second installment in McCall Smith's already hugely popular new detective series, "The Sunday Philosophy Club," stars the irrepressibly curious Isabel Dalhousie--editor of the "Journal of Applied Ethics"--and her no-nonsense housekeeper, Grace.
About the Author
Alexander McCall Smith is the author of more than 50 books, including the delightful 6-volume No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. Born in what is now Zimbabwe, McCall Smith was a law professor at the University of Botswana. He now lives in Scotland.